At 8:45am on Thursday July 13th, a pile of rubbish caught alight at the SKM Recycling Centre, located on Maffra St, Coolaroo which is 20 kilometres north of Melbourne CBD.
160 firefighters and 35 fire trucks are currently battling the massive blaze, which is contained within the recycling plant and is expected to burn into the weekend.
Overnight the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) detected a deterioration in air quality, due to the toxic smoke caused by burning plastic, cardboard and paper. Police door knocked more than 100 homes in neighbouring Dallas, with more than 40 residents evacuating to the local swimming pool as a makeshift relief centre. Four people have been taken to hospital for breathing difficulties.
On Thursday plumes of thick smoke billowed over neighbouring suburbs and residents reported ash landing on their properties. The smoke was visible from the CBD.
Affected residents in neighbouring suburbs are advised to remain inside, closing all doors, windows and vents and turning off heating and cooling systems.
The factory and surrounding businesses were evacuated and staff were sent home, after consultation between firefighters, police and the affected businesses. It is expected that staff will not be able to return to work for several days.
No surrounding properties are under threat from the fire. The source of the blaze is unknown and investigations are continuing.
This is the fourth fire at this location this year and the second this week.
Having established fire safety and evacuation procedures in place is essential to maximising safety for occupants located on-site and in the neighbouring vicinity.
For more information on fire safety and emergency evacuations, the First 5 Minutes Team is available for further discussion.<< BACK TO NEWS